Calcutta: Lajong FC held Pune FC to a goalless draw in an I-League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Shillong, on Sunday.
In another match, Bangalore FC blanked Rangdajied United 3-0 at the Bangalore Football Stadium. John Johnson, Sean Rooney and captain Sunil Chetri were on target as Ashley Westwood’s boys notched up their maiden win in the tournament.
In another match at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune, Mumbai FC held Dempo SC 1-1.
Anwar Ali was Mumbai’s saviour when he headed in Nicholas Rodrigues’ corner in the 86th minute. Jeje Lalpekhlua had given the lead to Mumbai FC.
Pune FC coach Mike Snoei made two changes to the team that beat Mohammedan Sporting in the opening round, replacing Raul Fabiani (suspension) and Dhanpal Ganesh (injury) with playmaker Douhou Pierre and winger Velington Rocha.
Pune FC began the game on the offensive. Lajong’s attack, on the other hand, revolved around striker Cornel Glenn.
In the dying minutes of the first half, Nikhil’s attempt from close range went wide after Rocha who did well to free himself up on the right flank and cross in. Both teams went into the break locked at 0-0.
The second half was much of the same as both teams continued to create chances. However both defences were alert to thwart rival attacks.
Two minutes from the half-hour mark, Pune FC created a magnificent chance. Winger Nikhil Kadam’s cross found Douhou at a goal-scoring position.
However, Lajong defender Jibon Singh recovered just in time to clear the danger.
Midway through the second half, Pune FC survived a couple of close chances and was lucky to eke out a draw.
Talking about the Bengaluru-Rangdajied match, Johnson sparked life into what seemed like subdued first half when he rose to head home a Beikhokhei corner. Rangdajied looked ragged and didn’t have a clear chance at goal. The absence of seasoned defender Lamine Tamba, out with a muscle injury, didn’t help their cause.
Beikhokhei had a hand in the second goal in the second half when he slid one in for Rooney. The Australian made no mistake while tucking home from close.
The 7000-odd crowd was vocal all throughout in their support for the home team and the boys responded.
The best move of the evening ended up in a third goal in the 67th minute. Released on the left, Sunil played quick one-two with Rooney before beating goalkeeper Shambu Mistry from close.